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Anathema - A Natural Disaster CD (album) cover

A NATURAL DISASTER

Anathema

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.86 | 437 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Fishy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A few years ago, I was pretty surprised by this stunning record. Till then, I only knew Anathema vaguely from the previous album. I did like "a fine day to exit" but it didn't blew me away either but " a natural disaster" does. Why ? I remember it was autumn when this album was initially released and it left me longing for the long winter nights by the fire. Listening to the album, you actually can feel the cold and turbulent sky coming in. The second and third track which flow into each other are perfect examples. "Balance" has some early Radiohead influences which you'll easily notice by listening to the vocals and noisy guitars. These elements seem to return throughout the album every once in a while. In other moments the backing vocals seem a combination between a death grunt and the chaotic shouting we know from PF - The Wall. Musical greatness starts with the first tones of "closer". Maybe this is personal but this must be one of the most captivating songs I ever heard. The track is based upon a simple, yet not less effective, keyboard melody. At first you hear it in its bare essence but then there's gradually the addition of more noises like the synthetic voice at the beginning and some meaty guitar riffs and psychedelic effects. Throughout the track, the tension is growing till.it drops and leaves you with a reprise of the same keyboard melody. Awesome !!!!

Let's take a look at some other highlights.

"childhood's dream" is a mediaeval instrumental with a beautiful acoustic guitar line. The background is filled with colourful layers of dark keys. Splendid atmosphere !

Since the beginning days of the band, there has been a lot of water under the bridge. "Pulled under at 2000 metres a second" shows a glimpse of the music they use to produce in the past. The only real up-tempo track on the album starts with the appearance of dark clouds coming in through sinister keyboard parts. Soon the massive and wild guitar riffs are disturbing the mood with a full blown guitar sound with a sort of Roger waters vocal line on top.

Like it should be on every album, the title track of "a natural disaster" is the best of what this album has to offer. The moving melody, sung by a female vocalist, strikes my heart. Some delicate shades of solo guitar & keyboard on the background make the picture complete.

The wonderful closing track "violence" sums up all the qualities you'll find elsewhere on this album. Again, there's a tension that builds up to a climax and after that, you get a silent, reflective, orchestral ending that could easily fit in on an ambient album.

A natural disaster is not a happy album. Compared to "a fine day to exit", the album sounds much more intimate, calmer and depressing at some points. This is not a typical prog album either, it opens the door to listeners of melodic rock in general. Moreover the emotional level of the music is constantly high. "A natural disaster" is one of the sole records that shows a perfect balance between musical perfection and emotion. Every sound you hear is meant to be there. There's plenty of prog elements in the delicate way all instruments are handled. In other words : This album sounds like the way the cover art looks : a mysterious, beautiful, but somehow disturbing, painting.

Fishy | 4/5 |

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